Articles, Blog

5 Painful Truths About Mercedes’ Paris

5 painful paris truths

Setting a story in history requires tons of research. It’s one of the reasons I love writing historical fiction. While writing The Devourer, I dug up numberous dark details that didn’t make it into the story, but some of them are too delightful not to share.

The year is 1858, and in Paris…

…drinking tea is a capital crime.

Articles, Blog

Of Love Stories And Corrupted Fairy Tales

Guest Post by Cael Kalbrandt

Today, all across the globe we herald Valentine’s Day in a splash of crass commercialism. A perfect opportunity to share some little-known details about the origin of romantic love stories.

Prepare to have your pink bubble burst.

love stories cael kalbrandt valentine's day

The Roots of Love

Our trip into history takes us back to Europe in the 12th and 13th century AD. This is the time in which the stories of King Arthur appeared: the heydays of noble knights, fair ladies, minstrels, and the celebration of platonic devotion to one’s One True Love. The time of courtly love at its purest.

Or so we like to believe. A closer study of aforementioned minstrels crashes that party but good.

Articles, Blog

Reading: Experience By Proxy

reading experience by proxy

From the instant a toddler recognizes its first letter, we bombard the poor child – and its parents – with the importance of reading. Yet for every child that takes to reading readily and early, there is one that can’t sit still during a bedtime story and rather plays with toys instead of staring at squiggly symbols in a row.

Once these kids grow an appetite to venture into the world of comics, they are told to put down that ‘trash’ and read ‘proper books’. To drive that point home, their school system will force them for years to read classic literature far beyond their interest and comprehension.

Which is a terrible shame. Not on those youngsters, but for them. Because if their repulsion of reading persists, they miss out on far more than a handful of books.

Articles, Blog

Resolving Unresolved Resolutions

Guest Post by Cael Kalbrandt

 

It’s January 8th, high time to assess the damage done to your New Year’s Resolutions. Come on, be honest: have any of them even made it this far?

Didn’t think so. And don’t bother denying you made any. Even the half-hearted ones count for the purpose of this little treatise.

new years resolutions

Changing Digits

It’s human nature to ride the current of a momentous change. When your whole world is upset, for good or for bad, the ensuing chaos makes it easier to introduce other changes. Or you dig in and hold on to what you know. Humanity is fickle…

For some unfathomable reason, changing a digit on a calendar is considered so momentous, it warrants making radical changes. Never mind that the digits on the calendar change all the time. Every. Single. Day. Yet for some people it’s impossible to quit smoking on October 3rd or start going to the gym on April 25th.

Fair enough, I say. If January 1st is genuinely the only opportunity you see to make changes in your life, take it. It would be a waste to sleep off your hangover, wake up on the 2nd and realise you’ll be stuck in this rut for another 364 days! 365, even, if it’s a leap year.

Articles, Blog

Where Has The Horror Gone?

In the age of mass media, horror enthusiasts needn’t go to a bookstore or cinema to get their fix. And for once, it’s not the Internet that is to blame.

horror

A Dying Fire

Every day and every night, the syndicate news channels spew one horror story after another. There is enough drama to satisfy our every craving for fear and terror. And should the world fail to be on fire, the news writers add drama to whatever is happening with a few choice words: calling a collision a “car accident” doesn’t turn any heads, but “disaster” still gets a response.

It’s no secret that we are desensitising at an alarming rate. Hundreds get killed in a natural cataclysm, yet we shrug and check our Facebook status. News outlets desperately try to fan the flames of this dying fire by using ever more superlatives, but fact remains that the number of people who give f*** all about anything is dwindling faster than ever before.

You can only fan a flame so many times before it starves.

Horrific Methods

Unfortunately, the horror side of the entertainment industry feeds off that same dying fire. The audience isn’t scared – or even mildly uneasy – unless they care. Unless they empathise with at least one of the characters and their situation. The artists’ job is to make them care. Feed the fire, as it were.

But that has become an uphill battle in all media.